Two Latter-day Saint couples hang out for the evening. The Netflix movie ends, we’re breaking out the ice cream and brownies. And then the brethren start telling mission stories while we sisters compare pregnancies. If you are not to this stage of life yet, I warn you, it will come.
Of course, the sisters have great mission adventures, too, but maternity stories tend to trump those big time. Here are some things most pregnancies have in common with the classic mission experience:
1. Tell and retell
Over and over these tales never get old. We love to one-up each other with their uniqueness and the many surprises we experienced. OK, so a missionary in Norway slid off an icy front porch into the coal cellar of a house he was tracting. But a friend of my mom’s had a baby in a taxi, a baby on the hospital lawn, and a baby in the hospital elevator.
2. We need support
Neither missionaries nor expectant moms can make it through without help. Encouragement is welcome and if we don’t get it, we can become desperate. Hey there, missionary, we’re praying for you. Hey there, future mom, you look beautiful today.
3. This body is not the one I started with
A mission can do a number on your body. You either get Montezuma’s revenge and lose 20 pounds or eat too much Dutch chocolate and gain 20 pounds. I gained 35 pounds every pregnancy and only lost 13 when I delivered. (I can’t even recall how many times I’ve mentioned that. It always gets me sympathy.)
4. Restrictions, restrictions, restrictions
OK, so you had to get up at 6:30 in the morning, walk all day and deal with a few blisters. At least you could still see your feet. Expectant moms can kiss that luxury goodbye.
5. This too shall pass
Your mission did end and you didn’t want to come home. Bless the day that baby finally came. Yeah, a week late and at 10:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve—but it came. It came just the same.
6. Nothing else can match the growth you experience
OK, like, so worth it. Missionaries come home having grown in so many ways. Even a seemingly “unsuccessful” mission can be seen as a growing experience. Of course, nothing can match having kids. It’s the hugest step possible towards understanding and living Christlike charity and self-sacrifice. A childless movie star (*cough* Jennifer Aniston *cough*) once said, “But we do have dogs.” Nope, she just doesn’t get it.
I didn’t want to give this away in the heading. I wanted to say “They generally have unrealistic expectations of their companions.” ‘Nuff said.
8. There’s a book about that
Both missionaries and pregnant women tend to focus their choice of reading material on the task at hand. Preach my Gospel vs. What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
9. Reboot, replay
No matter how difficult it was, as soon as it’s over, we start talking about doing it again. Senior missions are really fun. Joey needs a little brother.